Norms are not like specifics. In Las Vegas the house always wins and yet some people specifically win as well. Averages and statistics are less valuable to individuals in deciding how to live their lives as they are to social policy and predictions of the future. What will statistically happen is primarily the interplay of environment and instinct. Environment may be called paradigm. It is the infrastructure prevalent that essentially defines the most usable aspects of the environment or those most likely to guide behavior or to guide the largest portion of such—the normal. The problems we see far-reaching in the world today are problems of paradigm and associated “social gravity”. Teaching people to swim against the current does not intrinsically change the causes of the flow that makes it most natural to go that other direction. In the same way, problems prevalent in our time, some longstanding, some seemingly new, are not adequately addressed by activism or market drivers. They are problems of infrastructure.
Apple’s I-phone entered the market as a platform, in other words as an infrastructure designed with base purposes and to facilitate further development. If the initial platform had been flawed in meeting the demands of the clientele, it would have failed. If the engineering failed to be resilient enough to adapt to the future needs, it would similarly see demise. The prime platforms of civilization and the paradigm of modern society are in demise. All the band-aids and patches cannot hide the fact that the current infrastructure inhibits evolution of society and progress on many urgent fronts.
The time is now to boldly address this fact by building new and better infrastructure, and thousands or hundreds of thousands are hard at the task. Building infrastructure can take on many forms. As the bridge project, we can use the functionality of the failing one to maintain peace and calculated work time to elegantly design and build the new. Conversely, as with military, we can go in as an invader and disrupt the former users, damage the infrastructure so as to requisition and rebuild it in an altered form for new purposes. Typical to our time in relation to the failing bridge is to either purchase or pirate structural support from the questionable structure of now to provide alternative routes built upon the old systems. The promise may be in the failing structure lasting or in an intention to become autonomously strong enough by the time of failure to stand alone.
Survival is different than springboarding to betterment. Toward the latter, a point not to miss is that the infrastructure has a slant that either provides for the continuation of the old or feeds growth in a new direction. The social gravity of the old paradigm is extractionist, earth destructive, earth and ecosystem dominating, and un-suited to deliver deeply healthy instinctually integrated human societies. We need to build infrastructure that bridges to the future not to the destinations of past intents and purposes. Routes to the future go in a different direction not currently facilitated by schemes improvised in the past or by the conventions of today. Projects that cantilever off of existing structures can be small, functional, and profitable, yet by intrinsic limitations of design, they cannot take us in the opposite direction… to where our future lies.
When soil is created it is a process. By one scenario currents deposit a wash of sediment on a nook of rock. Pioneer species come in and eek out their nutrition, moisture, and stability by sheer force of tenacity against the odds. Their roots become part of the soil for the lower risk opportunists who see the inhabitable space and make a go of it. The microclimate created finally prompts the effort of spores such as that of Endo mycorrhizal fungi who work with roots and plant exudates to create an infrastructure that opens venues to nutritional balance, system transport and trade, and to the soil’s crumb like structure that enables the holding of water soluble nutrient through heavy rain while simultaneously allowing water infiltration instead of runnoff and preventing evaporation of too much moisture from the soil. Soils covered in life then collect passing sediments using the plant structures to deepen the profile. The lessoning of runnoff and sediment in the rivers encourages greater salmon smolt survival that then return and multiply, spawning and giving over their bodies built from ocean nutrition but deposited in their pilgrimage of strength to the mountains. The bears, eagles, raccoons, and even the flies disperse the degrading salmon nutrient while the fungi multiply and adapt to incorporate and distribute it throughout the broad expanse of forest soil in an infrastructure of metered trade based on contribution. More soil moisture stays longer into summer henceforth producing more growth. The deer pauses longer depositing a little; the insects stop a little more and some stay, followed by the frog. The bird hollows a nest leaving a little; and the mice leave a cash of seeds of which some germinate, some degrade, and some sit in reserve. The amplified build-up has thus began as soil deepens and broadens while self-multiplying an infrastructure that enables easy abundance for many.
In our human realm of change, action is vibrant and alive at this time. The pioneers have swum up-stream and continue to teach their techniques freely to others. The visionaries have proven viability. The squatters are over-reaching all expectation in the informal pilot projects still mocked at large. The norms of average effect are not significantly changed as yet. The gravity and flows still run counter to ways that will typify sustainable abundance someday. It is the time for the builders of infrastructure to open the routes and enable the “social gravity” at large, that will evolve a significantly better more resilient and regenerative tomorrow. Infrastructure emboldens paradigm, and paradigm steers, inoculates, and molds the future. I believe that we need to now build the paradigm that humanity will populate.